Help Fighting Pay Discrimination In Ohio Would Be A Phone Call Away Under Two Lawmakers' Proposal
State Equal Pay Hotline would allow for anonymous reports of wage discrimination, information sharing
March 28, 2017
 
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State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) recently introduced House Bill (HB) 138, legislation to fight pay discrimination in Ohio by establishing a toll-free equal pay hotline, an easily accessible, anonymous resource for workers to report wage discrimination and gather more information to find out if they could be victims of pay discrimination.


“While the federal Equal Pay Act was enacted over fifty years ago, Ohio has done little more to protect worker’s paychecks from unprecedented and illegal discrimination,” said Smith. “By providing the tools necessary to help ensure folks are receiving equal pay for equal work, we can attract more top talent and create a stronger economy for all Ohioans.”


The average working woman in Ohio is paid only 75 percent of what her male counterpart gets paid, regardless of educational background and job description. Minority women suffer the worst pay disparity: nationally, African American women are paid 63 cents and Hispanic and Latina women are paid 54 cents for every $1 paid to white men.


“Ohio workers should be able to discuss their salaries and report discrepancies without fearing they will be treated differently, demoted or fired,” said Boyd. “With women making up nearly half of Ohio’s workforce, the gender wage gap not only affects them but their entire families. This pay gap takes money out of the pockets of hardworking Ohioans that could otherwise go to helping families put food on the table, gas in the tank or even make a rent or mortgage payment.”


According to data compiled by the White House, in 2011, a typical 25-year-old woman working full time all year earned $5,000 less than a typical 25-year-old man. In just 10 years, her cumulative lost wages will reach $34,000. U.S. Census information shows by age 65, the average woman will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime as a result of the earnings gap. At the current rate of progress, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported the gender wage gap in Ohio is projected to close in 2067, or 50 years from now.


The Ohio Civil Rights Commission, where Ohioans can currently file individual or group charges of discrimination for investigation, would operate the pay equity hotline. Calls can be made anonymously through the hotline. Anonymity is not required, but is an option for those who may fear retribution from their employer for filing a complaint.        

 
 
 
  
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Cleveland-area Lawmakers Say Ohio Could "amp Up" Economic Growth Through Music Industry

 

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state. 

“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”

“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”